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not only the sides of the vessel, but also any object thrown in their way. Numerous aphrodites and valellæ* rose occasionally to the surface; and both the beroe idya and cephea papuensis floated round us in vast quantities.
I can never take up one of these animals without associating with it the name of Cuvier, because it reminds me of what wonders he achieved in this department of comparative anatomy, and how great a reward it in turn heaped upon its votary; for it was this knowledge that raised the poor tutor of Normandy to a rank seldom equalled in the annals of scientific literature. It was this knowledge that rescued animals from their supposed vegetable existence—this it was that could alone have enabled him to tell the organization, and build up the figure of an animal from the mere inspection of its footsteps, that called a fossil world into being, and that placed the great naturalist on that high pinnacle from which he took so grand and comprehensive a view of the animal kingdom, that formed a classification not since surpassed, and confessed to be the purest we may in all probability ever have. And what was his reward ? Fame, rank, wealth, honours, and the united homage of the whole scientific world. Fortunately for him, he belonged to a country whose government cherishes science, and where the wealth of talent can purchase rank, and the labour of discovery and research is rewarded by even the highest offices of the state. Alas! like many other great men, he died but too early for the cause of science—a counsellor of state, a peer of France, and the greatest zoologist of the age. The band of weeping friends that knelt around his dying couch, told of the private worth and domestic endearments of the man, in whom Paris lost the brighest jewel that glittered in her literary coronet. The sçavans of his country followed him to his grave; but no funeral oration need have been pronounced at his tomb, for the mourning voice of science throughout the civilized world sung his requiem.
In the evening the wind moderated, and as this inland sea goes down nearly as rapidly as it rises, we were enabled to continue our course towards Malta.
* The two plates that form the skeleton of this singular little animal resemble very much the substance called the pen of the calmar, (sepia loligo.)
As night set in, a large shoal of dolphins surrounded us. I have seldom witnessed a scene of greater interest and excitement than the moonlight gambols of these cetaceæ, and the sport of miniature whaling. Our schooner was holding on her course in gallant style; a steady breeze-a rippled phosphorescent seaa cloudless sky—and “the watch” on deck or in the rigging anxiously waiting for the dart of the harpoon from the boatswain, who stood upon the martingal before the cutwater. Hundreds of dolphins (delphinus delphis) dashed through the water ; diving under the vessel ; bounding in graceful curves above the surface; and by the flakes of light that break from the disturbance of thousands of marine productions, showing every line of their beautiful forms. Sometimes they would follow in our wake ; then deploy on either side of us, as if to try our rate of sailing ; pass us; and again fall back alongside. All was breathless expectation on board; at last a large one came immediately in front, and the barbed steel entered deep into its chest. It instantly dived, taking with it a coil of rope attached to the head of the harpoon ; then came to the surface to blow, and dived again several times, the yacht still holding on her course at least seven knots an hour. At last exhausted, it was hauled to the vessel's side, puffing and splashing in a most terrific manner. Then a bowling knot was slipt over its tail—"all hands on deck," and some six or eight stout fellows dragged the creature over the bows. It was about eight feet in length, and its dissection occupied me the two next days.*
January 6th.-On awaking this morning we found ourselves snugly moored within the harbour of La Valetta; but our joy was soon marred, by the information that a twelve days' quarantine had been imposed upon us. Except, however, the disappointment of not going on shore, this had the less effect
upon our spirits, as a day or two was the most we intended to have remained, and that only to have taken in the necessary stores and provisions, before we set forward on our voyage towards Egypt and Syria, where we proposed wintering.
Malta has been well and often described. I can only speak of
* For some remarks upon the mode of suckling in the Cetaceæ, see Appendix, G.
it from the water view, where on one side of us a row of stores, custom-houses, and health-offices fronted a handsome quay; over these the houses of the town rose in terraces, the narrow, steep streets, plainly visible from our position, and the turrets of the governor's palace, with the steeples of the numerous churches, breaking up the monotony of dead-walls and house-tops. On the other side of this magnificent harbour all was fort, battery, tiers of cannon, red coats, and perpendicular walls of dazzling whiteness.
This was a holiday, so the ringing of bells never ceased from morning till night; it certainly shows no small degree of liberality in our government to bear with a nonsensical ceremony, that is pronounced a nuisance even in the most Catholic cities of the Continent.
Although not allowed to land, we were not without amusement; hundreds of boats passing and repassing with the Maltese ladies in their black valdetts; the vessels of the English fleet moored on all sides of us; and the good cheer afforded us of fish, fresh milk, game, lamb, peas, Tangerine oranges, and fruit of all kinds, enabled us to make up for the pleasures of a bad hotel; and in the evening the bands of the men-of-war playing the airs of old England was particularly delightful.
On the 7th we left Malta, a light wind stealing us gradually out of its land-locked harbour, to the great annoyance of some score of boats that had hoped to be employed to tow out “my lord Inglese," a term applied to all the English who travel with any degree of comfort through the Levant, and always applied to the owner of a yacht. These harpies were the only sailors I ever met who seemed to have no liking for a wind.
On the 10th we were near the shores of Candia, but could only distinguish the “loom of the land ;” next day Mount Ida was visible, and on the 13th the shores of Africa were again before us, and recognizable from the mast-head.
CHAPTER I X.
View of Alexandria-A Turkish Pilot-The Egyptian Fleet_Soldiery-An Eastern Bazaar
Donkey Boys-Cleopatra's Needle-Its prostration and proposed removal—A Pulm groveRuins of the ancient City-- Pompey's Pillar--Nautical Hieroglyphics--English Seamen-The Cemetery-Tombs-Eastern Lamentation-A Surveyor of the Navy – The Dock-yard-Commissioners, Vessels on the stocks—The Navy-Arsenal-Artisans-Mosque-Matrimonial speculation-Price of labour-A line-of-battle ship-Naval uniform--The Hospital—Consular residences—The Slave-market-Fish–Dromedaries—Remarks on their Natural History.
Jan. 13th.—We made the land this evening, but from its being so low, and the coast rising only a few feet above the level of the water, we were unable to distinguish it at any great distance. Before nightfall we obtained a very indistinct view of Alexandria, resembling the broken outline of an old fortress, and the Arab's tower that of a low hummock. The harbour not being safe to enter at night, we lay “off and on” till morning, when we found ourselves abreast of the tower, a plain, round, dark-looking building, not unlike an armless windmill, or those towers along the Spanish shore, as you enter the straits of Gibraltar. This is the only object for miles along the coast, and serves as a most valuable guide to mariners approaching the shores of Egypt, which are one continued series of low undulations of sand, than which nothing can appear more dreary, bleak, and barren, devoid as they are of a single living thing to break the monotony or enliven the scene.
On nearing the shore, the water becomes shallow and beautifully clear, vieing with the tint of the tourquoise ; enabling us to distinguish objects on the bottom at a considerable depth; and having numbers of large medusæ of every possible hue floating through it.
At length the city and harbour began to rise up, as if emerg
HARBOUR OF ALEXANDRIA.
ing from the sea, and the number of tall masts told of our proximity to a large fleet. We shortly afterwards picked up a pilot, blind of one eye, (as were each of the crew, except one old man who had lost both.) The pilot very deliberately squatted himself, cross-legged, upon the poop, and commenced smoking his long pipe, which he scarcely ever removed from his lips till we anchored. He was dressed in the Turkish costume, which is much more convenient than the long loose dress of the Egyptians for those engaged in any active occupation. He seemed to understand his business very well, and was the first of his profession we had yet met whose first inquiry was not after the rum-bottle. The entrance is rather intricate here, having several shoals and sunken rocks. We passed Marrabutt island—a miserable sand-stone rock, on which the present viceroy has erected a considerable battery. A light on this island would be of immense value, and enable vessels to enter during the night.
Except the row of houses along the water's edge, little or nothing of the town is seen from the harbour. There were a number of windmills then building along the shores to the right; and a view is had of the tall slender shaft of Pompey's pillar rising behind them, and forming a pleasing object even at this distance. There are no public buildings, such as you would expect even in the smallest European cities, visible from the harbour. A line of low wharfs at the water's edge, the minarets of a couple of mosques, and the hareem of Ibrahim Basha, which stands detached on a narrow neck of land to the left of the harbour, are all you see of the grandeur of the principal seaport of the east, and the second city in Egypt. The hareem is a large square building, without any architectural beauties, but easily distinguished by its isolated position, white walls, red-tiled roof, and green windowblinds--here, at least, deserving the name of "jealousies."
The Egyptian fleet was moored at the entrance of the harbour, and in number and appearance far surpassed what we had heard of it. They are a magnificent set of vessels—all in commission-in the most perfect order; the majority of them two deckers, but mounting many more guns than ours of a similar class ; with round sterns, and all the other modern improvements in naval architecture. The yacht of the Basha is a most beautiful craft, magnificently fitted up, and fully equal to any of the Cowes squadron.